Re: [Usability] Re: [Desktop_architects] Printing dialog and GNOME

Curtis Hovey wrote:
> On Tue, 2005-12-13 at 10:02 +0100, Murray Cumming wrote:
>>>Today I talked with Frederic Crozat, GNOME packager/maintainer and
>>>desktop developer here at Mandriva, and David Barth, vice president for
>>>engineering, about the development of the printing dialogs in GNOME,
>>>Firefox, and Thunderbird.
>>>Frederic told that the options from the PPD file are intentionally mot
>>>listed in the printing dialog, the usability team of GNOME was against
>>>listing these options.
>>I don't remember any such discussion, though I could be wrong. I think
>>it's highly unlikely. It's more likely that the GNOME print system was
>>difficult to do and started out with something simple. And it hasn't had
>>much attention lately while we've waited for other parts of the printing
>>system to fall into place.
>>The gnome-print list might be a better place to discuss this:
>>Also, there seems to be consensus that we are now almost ready to get a
>>real standard print dialog into GTK+ itself, so gtk-devel-list is suitable
>>too. But rather than cross-posting this probably needs someone to
>>coordinate things, if nobody is doing it already. Your ideas are a great
>>start on this.
>>(I'm not a libgnomeprint* developer.)
> By coincidence, I lost this last weekend of hacking on my projects to
> address my wife's greatest concern at the moment...printing her holiday
> pictures. She has HP 7660 PhotoSmart equipped with a photo tray that can
> do margin-less printing on three sides.  She knows it can do this under
> Windows without configuring it.  She could configure the printer to
> print (using the CUPS backend with Ubunut Breezy), but was near tears to
> print family pictures.

In KDE you simply choose some borderless mode via the "Driver Options"
tab in the "Properties" dialog and the printer does what you want.

> gThumb, gnome-photo-printer, and f-Spot could not print the photos
> correctly, in-part because the print dialog, and ultimately gnomeprint,
> makes too many assumptions about the user's needs, and either sends bad
> data to CUPS, or just sends too much.

For example some applications (do not know whether especially also
GNOME) have hard-coded margins, so they never are able to print
borderless. And without the info from the PPD it is non-trivial to
switch a printer to borderless (there is no standard PostScript command
doing that).

> She could save to file, and from
> command line, print a perfect photo using options, or a CUPS instance,
> or another spooler setup on the same printer.

Save the file from your GNOME app and call kprinter, that seems to be
the way currently.

> CUPS does work, and she
> knows it. Our print systems doesn't work and she knows it. I have
> modified the UIs, the defaults of gnomeprint, and her PPD to satisfy her
> needs--and the Just Doesn't Work for me.

Here you see that you work with a newbie-friendly desktop.

> We do need something somewhere between exposing options that confuse
> most users and default options that are based on the needs of printing
> text. Instead of classifying people as power-users and lusers, we should
> consider a way to configure an application to satisfy the task at hand.
> Users, and applications assume roles in their work.  Applications could
> have (I hate writing this) 'modes' to change one or more behaviors to
> satisfy the user at that moment. Computing would be easier when the
> application understood the role it was playing with the user. I
> personally would like one browser, but I am a Web developer and a user,
> so I use Firefox with developer extensions and Epiphany to satisfy my
> needs.

One thing which I already started with some drivers (HPIJS, Gimp-Print,
pxlmonno/pxlcolor) on is introducing the "Printout
Mode" option. It has a list of simple task-oriented choices and behind
the scenes it sets several of the original driver options (more or less
like scene modes in a digital camera), but the original options are not
thrown away, they are put into another option group in the PPD so that
in a GUI they get into a separate tab.

Gutenprint developers did similar things: On certain options you have
task-oriented choices, so you get a decent printout with a few clicks.
The power user switches them to "Manual" and can then do more than 100
individual adjustments.


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